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Show Review: Matt and Kim electrify chaotic Phoenix concert

Seeing the way Matt and Kim look at each other will tell you nearly everything you need to know about how fun your night is going to be.

The two, vocalist/keyboardist Matt Johnson and drummer Kim Schifino, are madly, excitedly in love and use that energy to bolster a hold-nothing-back performance every time they take a stage.

Tuesday night was no different, as hundred of fans — the duo calls them their scream team — crowded The Van Buren for a wild night full of multicolored balloons, confetti, and Kim’s signature twerking. And scream the team did, unifying the pit that was otherwise completely chaotic. It’s impossible not to absorb the punk rock restlessness emanating from Matt and Kim, who cannot and will not stay still.

The setlist was an even mix of cuts from each album, and the crowd showed its longtime loyalty by going hardest for the oldest songs. Of course tracks like “Get It” elicited hip shaking during its chorus, but it was the classics from 2011 and earlier that had fans at maximum energy output. “Daylight,” “Block After Block,” and “Cameras” were standouts as Kim bounced along with her drumsticks, whipping her hair.

Credit: Taylor Gilliam

But it was “Now” that brought the loudest shouts and the most electric moments in the venue as we all held our breath and waited for the beat to drop. Matt and Kim are the type of artists that are visibly quivering with excitement during anything they do, really, but especially in these high-intensity builds.

Their genius is in part due to this impeccable sense of timing but also in their remarkable chemistry. Yes, they’ve been performing together since circa 2005, but they’ve never lost their fierce passion for their music and for each other. First timers at the show were probably surprised when Matt asked us to cheer if we thought he should have shower sex with Kim after the show because their pre-show attempt didn’t go as well as anticipated.

Credit: Taylor Gilliam

There was never a dull moment. Even breaks without banter were filled with snippets of hip-hop tracks like Kendrick Lamar’s “Humble” and Drake’s “Started From the Bottom.” The mashup of “Bohemian Rhapsody” and “Smoke Weed Every Day” was a personal favorite.

The Phoenix area is especially lucky when Matt and Kim come to town, as the duo has cited their connection with local venues. They used to be regulars at the Trunk Space, and they even donated $1000 for the venue’s former location to purchase an air conditioner. Also, the lyric video of “Get It” has several scenes from a performance at Tempe’s Marquee Theatre because the crowd was so rowdy. Matt and Kim may be east coasters, but their Arizona dates almost feel like homecoming shows.

The later it got, the more people and pool floaties (yes, you read that right) were surfing the crowd. In that way, nothing has changed since their early days house shows in Brooklyn. The venues are bigger, and the stage effects are fancier, but the quintessential Matt and Kim show is one that feels intimate, feels boundless, feels fun.

Taylor Gilliam

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